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DECIPHERMENT OF 

THE INDUS SCRIPT' 

OF THE SINDHU 

CIVILIZATION 



DR. N.A. BALOCH 



The historical evidence of the Sindhi Language that is available to us so far, 
although of a considerable magnitude, is limited to certain documentary proofs 
going back to only about twelve to thirteen centuries (early eighth century AD). 
The earlier period spreading over a stretch of sixteen hundred years— from the 
twelfth century BC, the end of the old historical period of the Indus Valley 
Civilization, to the fourth century of the Common Era — indicating supremacy of 
the Buddhist and Iranian rulers and invasions of Greeks, the Central Asian Yueh- 
chis, and the Scythians — provides rather insignificant documentary details which 
would shed any light on the language of Moen-jo-daro or Harapa. Still an earlier 
period (from 1800 BC to 1200 BC) suggests incursions of Dravidians, Aryans, and 
other Non-Aryan tribes indicating a time of intense flux. This period also has so 
far yielded no documentary proofs regarding the nature of the language spoken in 
this area during the mature days of the Indus valley civilization. 



TABLE 1: Showing periods of historical "gaps' in the Indus Valley Civilization: 



Events in Sindh 


PERIOD 


Sources of Reference 


Pre-Indus Valley arch, evidence 


3500 BC- 
2500 BC 


Pottery from Sindh & Baluchistan 


Highly sophisticated Indus Valley 
Civilization 


2500 BC- 
1800 BC 


Highly developed archeological evidence; Writing on 
seals which is still undeciphered 


Historical Gap (1): Incursions of 
Dravidian, Aryan, & other Non- 
Aryan tribes 


1800 BC- 
1200 BC 


No local or outside records available; possible unexplored 
references in Sumerian, Akkadian Cuneiform writings 


Historical Gap (2) 


1100BC- 600 
BC 


astray references in Old Testament 


Historical Gap (3): Buddhists, 
Iranians, Greeks, Yueh-Chis, & 
Scythians supreme 


600 BC - 600 
AD 


Minor ref. in Asoka's pillars, Vedas, Mahabharata, 
Herodotus, Plutarch, Book of Esther (Artaxerxes' rule), 


Rai- Brahman Dynasty of Chach & 
Dahir 


600 AD -712 
AD 


Written Arabic/ Persian records of Ali Kufi 


Arab Dynasty 


712 AD - 


Ali Kufi, Al-Beiruni, Al-Baladhuri & other Arab writers 



The historians have found it difficult to fill up the apparent "historical gap' of over 
a millennium, from 1800 BC to 600 BC. However, the earlier period from 2500 
BC to 1800 BC, the period of the highly sophisticated Indus Civilization, was 
probably long enough to cover the duration of the "historical gap.' Traces of the 
language that was used during the period of high civilization of the Indus Valley 
are available for us inscribed in a script (the Indus Script) that has not been 
deciphered so far. The inscriptions are on the 4000-odd Indus seals and writings 
recovered from archeological excavations at sixty different sites including those at 
Moen- Jo- Daro, Chanhu- Jo- Daro, and Harrapa in Pakistan, Kalibangan, Lothal, 
Banawali, and Dholavira in India. In addition to these seals discovered in the 
South Asian sub-continent, about 50 Indus seals have been found from other 
neighbouring countries including the Near East. The Indus seals are made of two 
substances which have survived the test of time: steatite, soapstone (or Meitu, in 
Sindhi), or terracota (reddish brown pottery). The inscriptions are so mature and 
sophisticated that it is tempting to presume the scribes and businessmen may have 
used other materials for documenting other longer texts, most of which may not 
have survived. However, it is still possible that a longer text written on stone or 
other long-lasting material is waiting somewhere to be discovered. 



In order to formulate a feasible hypothesis about v the Indus language' or v the Indus 
languages,' it would be imperative for the researchers to look around for big or 
small evidence from other sources so long as the evidence from within the Indus 
valley area remains as meager as has been so far, without any definite long enough 
texts which would shed light on the v Indus language or languages.' In order to 
achieve this objective, we would need to study documents from some of the 
ancient languages contemporaneous to the Indus valley civilization, extending 
over linguistic groups such as Sumerian, Akkadian, Aramaic, Egyptian, Old 
Turkic, Dardic, Romany, the language of the European gypsies supposedly from 
India, Sanskrit, and Old Iranian languages. The most ideal situation would be to 
have an in-depth working knowledge of those languages and study their scripts. A 
study of the phenomenon of how ancient scripts evolved, how they were lost, and 
how some of them have been rediscovered and deciphered in more recent times 
might help us one day decipher the writings on the Indus seals. However, as the 
evidence from the history of v decipherment' of ancient scripts shows, the script 
will defy decipherment until two conditions are met: 

a. For the language of the script, the scholars will have to abandon their 
wild-goose chase of looking for the proto-type in Turan and South 
India and look for the evidence within the land where the seals were 
made and discovered. 

b. Scholars may have to wait for the day when texts are found in a 
bilingual or bi-script form. The script in addition to the v Indus Script' 
will have to be one that the world already knows. 

In addition to having a working knowledge of these languages, it would be 
imperative to have a thorough knowledge of the language or languages spoken in 
the valley during the known historical period, that is, the Sindhi, Lahanda, Punjabi, 
Brahui, and other languages in their pristine form as spoken by peasants, leaving 
out the traces of influences of Sanskrit, Persian, Arabic, and other modern 
languages. 

A number of renowned scholars of numerous nationalities have been trying to 
decipher these writings since 1875. Some of the earlier scholars (like Langdon and 
Gad and Hunter) initiating investigation into the Indus Script were British. In more 
recent times, scholars from Finland, India, and Russia have been working on a 
number of projects trying to decipher the ever illusive Indus script. The activity of 
decipherment has relatively increased during the last half a century or six decades 
and the tentative outcomes of such attempts have received a great deal of publicity. 
However, it can safely be said that the research that has been carried out so far has 



brought no tangible results. Nevertheless the basic preliminary spade-work that 
has emerged so far would certainly be useful to the scholars in the future research. 

So far all the seals found at various places of Moenjodaro or Harrapa have been 
put together, classified, and numbered. The basic process of copying of the 
original ideographic signs with their correct physical appearance has been 
completed. These signs have been classified into 419 (or 500) various structural 
elements or characters. Each one of the signs or characters has been assigned a 
separate number and classified according to its shape and structure. Each one of 
the seals has on average six characters and pictograms. The longest text has 
twentysix characters, and the shortest, one. The longest one- line text has 14 signs. 
This tortuous initial exercise of classifying pictograms, diacritical marks, and signs 
has already been completed. It has also been more or less established that the script 
runs from right to left. 

The scholars from Scandinavia, Russia, and India, have already been using the 
available data on their computers for data analysis trying to decipher the Indus 
script. The script has so far defied all attempts towards decipherment. All the 
efforts of the scholars in the modern studies aiming at reaching the Indus language 
or languages through the Indus script have so far borne little fruit, and any hope of 
a break-through towards decipherment of this script at an earlier date seems to be 
far from immediate realization in near future unless there is a major discovery 
bringing out larger texts with bilingual inscriptions. As a matter of fact, there is 
little chance for an unknown script to lead scholars to an unknown language. 

Scholars trying to decipher the seals and writings from the Indus Valley 
Civilization, Moenjodaro and Harappa, need to remember that Indus Script has not 
been the first script to have been lost to the posterity. The Cuneiform scripts of 
various lands of the fertile crescent, the Hieroglyphic writings of the Egyptian 
Pharaoic dynasties, and the Cretan Script of Greek islands had also been lost to the 
posterity for centuries until they were rediscovered and deciphered through the 
help of bilingual texts. The Cuneiform and the Hieroglyphics scripts carrying a 
great amount of written records in the Sumerian, Akkadian, Hurrian, Hittite, 
Elamite languages had been lost to mankind for eighteen hundred years until the 
multi-lingual inscriptions of Dariush and Cyrus on Bisutun and Persepolis 
inscriptions were found from those lands in more recent times and deciphered. 
Similarly there had been no clues regarding the ancient Egyptian language for the 
last fifteen hundred years until the Hieroglyphics were deciphered in 1822. The 
hieroglyphics were not deciphered until the Rosetta Stone had been found from the 
Egyptian excavations carrying a message in two languages and three scripts— one 
of the languages, Greek, being a known language. 

















Script 


Language 


Users 


flourished 


was lost by 


Replaced by 




Cuneiform 


Sumerian 

Akkadian, 
Ugaritic 

Assyrians 

Hurrian Hittite 


Uruk traders 
S argon, 
Hammurabi 
Cappadocian 
Ashurbanipa 
North Mespotamia 


3200 BC 

2279 BC 
1750 BC 
1950 BC 
650 BC 
700 BC 
200 BC 


650 BC 
75 AD 


Akkadian 
Aramaic 


Aramaic 


Aramaic 


lingua franca of Near 
East 


1000 BC 


600 BC 


Arabic, Hebrew, 
Armenian 


Elamite 


Proto-Elamite 


Elamites (Old 
Persia) 


3000- BC 
2200 BC 


2200 BC not 
decip'd 


Cuneiform 


Hieroglyphi 

cs 


Old Egypt'n 


Egyptians, holy text 


3000 BC 


400 AD 
decip'd 1822 


hieratic, demotic 


Hieratic 


Egypt'n 


ordinary passages 




400 AD 
decip'd 1822 


Greek, Roman 


Demotic 


Egypt'n 


official documents, 
labels for mummies 




394 AD 
decip'd 1822 


Aramaic 
Greek, Roman 


Indus Script 


Language of 
Indus? 


People of Indus 
Valley 


2500 BC 


1900 BC 
not decip'd 


Brahmi, 
Devnagri, Arabic 


Phoenician 


Phoenician 


Lebanon, Syria 


1000 BC 


800 BC 


Greek, Etruscan 
Latin, 


Cretan 


Linear A 
Linear B 


Greek 


2000 BC 


1200 BC 


Cyrillic, Greek 


Greek 




Greek 


1000 BC 


Still in use 


Coptic, Gothic, 
Cyrillic 


Chinese 


Chinese 


China, Japan, Korea 


2000 or 
earlier 


IS USED TO 
DATE 


CONTINUES 
TO BE USED 


Old 
Hebrew 


Hebrew, 
Aramaic 


Jewish Scriptures 


1000 BC- 
300 BC 


NOT LOST 


ARAMAIC, SQ 
HEBREW 


Kharosti 


Pali 


Northwestern India 


5th C BC -5th 
CAD 


5th CAD 


Brahmi & other 
scripts 


Brahmi 










Gupta, Grantha, 
Devnagri 




As history shows previous 
Hieroglyphics, Cuneiform), 
attempts to penetrate their my 
century AD), the Phaistos dis 
far. 


y undeciphered scripts to hav< 
there remain several baffling ca; 
steries. Besides Indus Script, we 1 
c from Crete (17th century BC) wl 

5 


; been decipl 
;es where scri 
lave examples 
uch have not b 


lered (Linear B 
pts have resistec 
of Linear A (12tr 
een deciphered sc 


» 

1 
i 
> 



DECIPHERMENT OF THE INDUS SCRIPT 

The excavations of the royal ruins at Moenjo Daro have so far penetrated up to the depth of thirty 
feet only. The evidence of civilization, however, lies buried to a depth of thirty more feet. It is 
still possible that excavations may lead to something like Rosetta Stone with inscriptions in the 
Indus script along with a writing system that is still known to the world, for example, Brahmi, 
Kharoshtic, and Devnagri of South Asian origin, Aramaic, Hieroglyphic or Cuneiform of the 
Middle Eastern origin. Such a discovery might lead to the decipherment of the language or 
languages of the Indus script. 

The possible methods of decipherment of the Indus script used by scholars so far can be 
classified into two groups: 

1. All those methods which have concentrated on directing research towards 
internal structure of the Indus script without reference to any external source. 

2. All those methods which have directed their research towards proving some sort 
of relationship with other scripts and languages of the contemporary civilizations. 

Research On Internal Structure Of the Indus Script: 

There has been ample basic research work concentrating mainly on internal structure of the Indus 
script leading to reducing the inscriptions into writing and enumerating the entire corpus of the 
signs, marks, and pictorial representations so much so that each and every sign has an 
identification number now. This kind of work has been carried out with the hope that some of the 
findings of the olden times would be useful to future researchers in deciphering the script. For 
example, we know that when some of the ancient writings underwent statistical and structural 
analysis, it led to their decipherment. By now it has become easy to carry out the structural and 
statistical analysis of the Indus script on computer. However, it has still remained an unresolved 
difficulty to work out the structural patterns of the Indus script which can be "translated into a 
language.' 

Concentrating on the signs of the Indus script, Rotham Mahedevan, an Indian scholar and expert, 
made appropriate studies on the Indus script from 1973-1977, and published his findings in 
1977. 1 Finnish scholars Kimmo Koskenniemi and Asko Parpola have been busy in their studies 
of the Indus script since early seventies. A Russian team under the leadership of Y. Knorozov, 
and a number of other groups have been busy during the last three decades, all concentrating on 
analyses of the internal structure of the script. Although all these studies have added to our 
understanding of various approaches towards resolving the decipherment problem, none of them 
has so far achieved any plausible and tangible results. 



Research On External Relationships 

According to the second methodology, some of the scholars have endeavoured to study the Indus 
script comparing it with other ancient writing systems and languages. The research according to 
this methodology has taken the following three directions: 

1 . The Sumerian- Semitic Hypothesis: 

Adhering to this methodology, some of the scholars have come to certain conclusions having 
compared character structures and pictograms (or ideograms) of the characters found on the 
seals. The research could also be based on a pre-supposed hypothesis assuming that a certain 
language is the language depicted in the Indus script. Earlier scholars tried to show that the 
language of the script could have some relationship with Sumerian, Hurrian, Elamite, Indo- 
European, or Munda families. Besides Hunter's pioneering work, S.V.K. Wilson's research is 

-5 

also based on such a hypothesis. One of such studies was R. Hunter's book The Script of 
Harrapa and Moenjo Daw and its Connection with other Scripts published in 1934. One of the 
claims of Hunter's research was about the direction of the writing. He said that the script, too 
short as the examples of the text were, ran from right to left, or occasionally, when the text was 
long enough to run into the second line, it was based on the boustrophedon. This means that the 
script, running from right to left, when it comes to the end of the first line, it goes down to the 
second line and returns running from left to write. This is the way the oxen plough a field. Hence 
the name (bous = ox, + strophedon = to return). Another thing we learned from Hunter was that 
the Indus script would not be accessible to us unless we had a thorough understanding of the 
hieroglyphics, cuneiform, and other ancient scripts. 

2. The Dravidian Hypothesis: 

Another hypothesis, although based on rather flimsy grounds, seems to be popular with some of 
the research scholars nowadays. It is based on the assumption that the language that has been 
depicted in the Indus script is a sort of Dravidian language. The perpetrators of this hypothesis 
reject out-right the earlier assumptions that the language of the Indus script could have some 
relationship with Sumerian, Hurrian, Elamite, Indo-European, or Munda families. Working on 
the assumption that some Dravidian speaking people had lived at one time in the Indus valley 
who gave birth to the Indus civilization that is depicted in the Indus script before moving on to 
South India and Ceylon, they insist that the Indus Script could be deciphered only if its language 
were considered to be related to modern Tamil, Telegu, or Kanadda. In order to prove the 
relationship of Dravidian people with the Indus civilization, such scholars have argued after Sir 
Denys Bray that Brahvi people living in the border areas of modern Sindh were a remnant of the 
Dravidian people and that the modern Brahvi language is a Dravidian language. In order to prove 
their point, Sir Brays followers argue that the Brahvi language has elements cognate to the 
Dravidian languages. Although there is yet to be a substantial research to prove such a point, the 
only evidence from a Brahvi speaking scholar, Nasser Brohi, in his Studies in Brahui History 
(1977) is a vehement denial of Brahui having anything to do with the Dravidian group. Besides, 
there are scholars who speak of about twenty languages in the family of Dravidian languages, 
some of the northern dialects being Kuroukh, Malto, and Brahvi. However, when comparing the 
Indus script with words of a Dravidian language, all the scholars have so far attempted to do is to 
acquire the evidence from the Dravidian languages spoken in southern India and Ceylon at 
present, ignoring altogether the Brahvi language or other members of the northern Dravidian 
group. Obviously the southern Dravidian languages are thousands of miles away from Sindh and 
Punjab, the citadels of Indus valley civilization as well as living custodians of the local languages 



which are quite different from both Sanskrit and the Dravidian group. Some scholars, in their 
fervour of the new found "reality' of comparative grammars, have even gone so far as to claim 
for the modern Sindhi language an honourable place among the members of the Dravidian 
family. 5 

Working on the Dravidian hypothesis, the Scandinavian and Indian scholars have selected some 
words and phrases from the ancient Dravidian languages of South India and compared their 
meanings, semantics, and structures with the structures of the Indus script. The Scandinavian 
scholar Asko Parpola and his team, working on such a hypothesis, claim to have made some 
tentative progress. More recently, K.K. Raman of Madras declared (in daily The Muslim, 
Islamabad, January 7, 1988) that he had succeeded, on the basis of Old Dravidian assumption, in 
finding the key to the decipherment of the Indus Script. Nevertheless, in spite of all the numerous 
claims, it seems, this lock of the Indus script had apparently been prepared by the great smiths of 
yore that is not likely to yield to such foreign-made keys so easily. The basic flaw in this 
methodology is obvious: first the scholars call the Indus Civilization a Dravidian civilization on 
the basis of a deceptive and self -perpetuating assumption that Brahui is a remnant of the Indus 
civilization and that Brahui is a Dravidian language, and hence Indus Civilization a Dravidian 
civilization. Having thus "established' Dravidianism of the Indus Civilization as a v fact,' the 
scholars travel a thousand miles to the South of India to find a key to unlock the lock of Indus 
Script, on the basis of their assumption. If Brahui is a remnant of Dravidian family of languages 
and if Indus Civilization was a Dravidian civilization, the obvious language to explore for 
finding a key to the Indus Script would be Brahui, not Tamil or Telegu of South India. However, 
instead of looking into Brahui or any other local languages for help, the scholars prefer travelling 
more than a thousand miles to the shores of South India on the wings of Dr. R Caldwell's A 
Comparative Grammar of The Dravidian or South Indian Family of Languages, written in 1875 
to find a key to the decipherment of the Indus Script without having had a first hand experience 
of either Brahui or South Indian Dravidian languages. This is like trying to decipher Linear A 
inscription with the help of modern Pushto, assuming that some Cretan Greeks had come to the 
land of v Pactans' when Alexander had invaded India, as related by Herodotus in his Histories. 
Whatever natural or man-made calamities a civilization may have encountered, there is no proof 
from any civilization that all people of an area would move on to another land, leaving the land 
to be occupied by the newcomers. If this were true, Baghdad would have no one but Mongols for 
its inhabitants, and Delhi no one but Afsharis from Shiraz and white-skinned people from the 
Great Britain living there. When hordes of Caucasian Indo-Aryans migrated to Iran, India, and 
Europe, they did not leave their lands uninhabited. The Caucasian lands are still over peopled by 
Armenians, Georgians, and Azerbaijanis who are still fighting among themselves. In order to 
decipher the ancient Indus Script, researchers will have to stop looking for external evidence and 
start looking nearer the bed of this ancient civilization for a key that would open the ancient lock. 

3. The indigenous Language (Sindhu) Hypothesis: 

In order to resolve this problem on a rather firm rational ground, a third hypothesis can be 
presented basing on the assumption that the key to the decipherment of the Indus script may be 
found right in the land where it had been lost— Indus Valley. The decipherment could, perhaps, 
be worked out looking into the words and phrases of the language of the Indus valley, the 
language of the land itself, Sindhi of the peasants, as it has remained unaffected throughout the 
centuries. 



One objection to this hypothesis could be that Sindhi, being a language of the modern times, can 
not be considered to have been related with the language of the ancient times of the Indus valley. 
However, the same objection can be raised against the Dravidian hypothesis since it is hard to 
imagine that the Dravidic vocabulary items which have been in use in modern times in South 
India, and whose meanings are known to people in modern times thousands of miles away from 
the place of its origin, were spoken in ancient times in the Indus valley and were used in the 
ancient "Indus script' writing of the seals. If, according to the Dravidian hypothesis, some of the 
words of the ancient Dravidian languages could be claimed to have been the remnants of the 
"ancient Indus script', there is a still better possibility that some of the ancient words in the 
modern Sindhi language could be remnants of "the language of the Ancient Sindhi Civilisation'. 
The historical analysis of the Sindhi language has proved that some of the common nouns and 
proper names, which are in current use today, were in use in Sindh at least thirteen hundred years 
earlier at the time of the Arab conquest of Sindh (712 AD) as they appear in the monumental 
work Fat-h- Nama Sindh. It can also be argued that such words as were in use in the 8th century 
of the Common Era and were recorded by historians could have been in use in Sindh for 
hundreds of years earlier as well before they were recorded by Arab scholars. According to the 
evidence available in present times, the last phase of the "Indus civilization' continued up to the 
18th Century B.C. However, it is also possible that this phase lasted long time afterwards and, as 
the people continued to inhabit the earth, the language or languages spoken during that phase 
remained in vogue. Although availability of written records proves the existence of a civilization, 
non-availability of definitive records does not prove non-existence of a people or their language. 
All it proves is that, for whatever reason, the solid structures of urban life ceased to exist, giving 
way to temporary perishable structures of rural life. But human beings continued to live and 
continued to speak a language or languages that they had always spoken. Our inaccessibility to 
written or archeological records does not prove that the entire population of Indus valley had 
ceased to exist during the "historical gap.' The existence and continuity of a civilization does not 
depend upon any written records. It is difficult to presume that the entire population of a land 
would just perish or migrate without leaving any descendants behind. Even if we were to 
presume that the language of the Indus civilization had died away as a spoken language like 
Sumerian, Assyrian, Sanskrit, Latin, and others, it must have left behind some words, names of 
persons and their castes or ethnic groups, names of trees, plants, herbs and shrubs, animals, 
household goods, and building materials. There is a possibility that some of the words used by 
the people of the Indus civilization could still be prevalent among the inhabitants of the remote 
areas of Sindh where external influences have not been in abundance. 

Any way, this is just one of those hypotheses which can be used to analyse and decipher the 
"Indus script'. However, in order to carry this hypothesis through to its logical end, we (the 
Sindhi speaking peoples) have to play our part. If we can not do the research in its entirety, we 
could at least provide word corpus to the people who are carrying out the research. In this regard, 
all we have to do is choose and distinguish the words from the Sindhi Dictionary which have not 
been borrowed from Persian, Arabic, Pali, Sanskrit, or any other known language of the 
"historical' period. However, if such words are suspected to have been related to the ancient 
languages like Dravidian, Proto-Vedic, Munda, Sumerian, Egyptian (Coptic), Babylonian, or 
Akkadian, such words could be retained in the list of the experimental vocabulary for the time 
being. 

It is not easy to select such words. However, in order to take the first step and to instigate further 
thinking in this direction, a short list of Sindhi words is presented here. This conjectural list could 



be expanded and improved upon by other scholars after further consideration. 
The following is a list of a few selected words used in modern Sindhi which are considered to be 
of ancient origin. There are many other words which would be still older which would have to be 
considered during any experiments towards deciphering the Indus script. It is expected that some 
of these words would be the words in the inscriptions of the Indus script. Although, apparently, 
there are great many hurdles in the way of deciphering the Indus script, there is a vast room for 
those who wish to explore the possibilities of the research. 

A PRELIMINARY LIST OF THE OLD SINDHI LANGUAGE 

1. Words related with human relationships 

Ada, Ado, Adi, Adiyoon Brother/s, sister/s 

ghote bride groom 

kunwaar bride 

Beli helper, assistant, servant 

2. Words Related with cooking, food 

maani bread, food 
DaGar Bread 
dodho Thick bread 
Dhaw Satiation 
Taandoa burning coal 
Chulih Fire-place 
baah Fire 

3. Words for Household Goods 

GhaRo Dilo, water-jar 
Mattu larger water jar 
Dakhi Smaller jar for milk 
ChaaDia larger earthen pot for milk 
Kheeru milk 

lassi saltish water-milk 

4. Words related with birth and anatomical parts 

Dhuki a female pregnant animal, big with child 

Suwa a female milk giving animal 

Viyaaee delivered a child 

viyaau off- spring 

Jarru The thin covering around the new-bom baby 

tanjanu The piece of cloth for wrapping around the new-born child restricting the 

activity of its limbs when sleeping 

Thu:nth elbow 

Dawnro Upper arm Muscle 

KhuRhi heel, back of the foot 

paBu lower part of the front of the foot 

Booth face, mouth 



10 



5. 


Words related with Residence 




Waandhi 


temporary residence 




Bunbho 


front of the house, the door 




loRho 


fence of thorny branches of trees around a house 




kiRi: 


a small house made of temporary materials. 


6. 


Weapons of hunt, attack, and defence 




dondanu 


a clay- stone 




Mutko 


a round piece of stone to be held in closed palm, the muth 




Lakunu 


a thin stick or staff 




chahbuk 


a whip made of a wet branch 


7. 


Words related with cattle and other animals 




Daand 


a bull 




dhaGGo, 


a bull 




dhaGGi 


a cow 




wahuRo 


a young male calf 




wahuRi: 


a young female calf, heifer 




Ridha 


a female sheep 




ghatto 


a male sheep 




pahoon 


a sheep 




Saanhu 


a male animal for breeding 




pahoon 


female goats 




panhoonwar 


a shepherd 




Daagho 


a male camel 




Daachee 


a female camel 




karaho 


a swift male camel, 




ramaRu 


a group of cattle etc. 




dhaNNu 


a group of sheep or goat 


8. 


Words related with land, mountains 




potho 


a prairie, a straight land, with or without grass 




Wiyyu 


a grazing pasture 




khariRo 


a dry piece of land which has not had water for a while 




Dongar 


a mountain, a hill 




takkaru 


a hill, a mountain 


9. 


Words related with agriculture/ cultivation 




urlo/ hurlo 


a mechanism to lift water for irrigation 




khaRRiploug 


tied land 




khaRRo 


A clay piece after the land is plowed 




bhanjhoo 


a cultivated land in which seed has been cast, waiting for water 




gappa 


mud, 


10. 


words related with Minerals 




.Baat 


a mixed metal (alloy) to make utensils 




.kuttu 


a mixed metal (alloy) to make utensils or ornaments 

11 



11. 


Words for Wind, Rain 




.GaRo, GaRa 


hail, hailstorm 




.KhinwaNi 


lightening 


12. 


Words related with Water, fish, fishermen 




.Dhandha 


lake 




.kuriRo 


a kind of fish 




Jaruko 


a kind of fish 




•gowj 


a kind of fish 




.pallow 


a kind of fish, hilsa fish 




.Meid 


fishermen 




.mayya 


fishermen 




.muhaaNaa 


fishermen 




.ghaattu 


divers, those who catch fish in the deep sea 


13. 


Words related with measurement, weights, balances 




.kaano 


a bamboo rod of a man's height to measure distances and length of a 
grave; the rod of the balance (Also used in Akkadian 
languages), 




.MaNNu 


a weight of varying mass (also used in Akkadian language) 




.lappa 


palm full 




.muthi 


what comes in one palm when it is closed 




.Buku 


what comes within two open hands when they are held together 




.glran:th 


span (from the tip of the small finger to the tip of the thumb when 
out- stretched 




.Ba:lu: 


span of distance from the tip of the index finger to the tip of the thimb 




.Hathu 


distance from thu:nth to the tip of the outstretched fingers 


14. 


Ordinal/Cardinal Numbers (for counting) 




.Barakhu 


One (from either good, or Barakat of Arabic, meaning blessed) 




Ba 


Two 




.chawnk 


foursome 


15. 


Colours 

.achho white 






.sa:o 


green 




.ni:ro blue 






.Ga:Rho 


red 




.pi:lo yellow 


r 


16. 


Dwelling structures 




.manahun 


a thatched house, without side walls? 




.Chhaparu 


a thatched house 




.aDa:wat 


structure 






12 





TABLE: SHOWING BASIC LEXICON USED 
GLOTTOCHRONOLGY: ENGLISH-SINDHI 

Note: B, J, D, G =implosives, N= retroflex nasal, R= retroflex, c= ch, 
(aspirated), 


IN 

ch= chh 






English 


Sindhi 


English 


Sindhi 


English 


Sindhi 


English 


Sindhi 




All 


Samura 


fat 


thulho 


man 


ma:Nhu 


Sleep 


Ninda 


Ashes 


Cha:ru 


feather 


khanbh 


many 


ghaNa, 
jujha: 


Small 


nandho 


Bark 


ChoDo 


fire 


ba:hi 


meat 


ma:su 


Smoke 


du:nhun 


Belly 


petu, 


fish 


machhi 


moon 


chandu 


Stand 


bi:hu 


big 


WaDo 


fly 


uDa:mu 


mountain 


Dongar 
Takaru 


Star 


ta:ro 


bird 


Pakhee 


foot 


peiru 


mouth 


wa:tu 


Stone 


patharu 


bite 


Chaku 


full 


bharial 


name 


na:lo 


Sun 


sijju 


black 


ka:ro 


give 


Dey 


neck 


Gichi: 


Swim 


tarru 


Blood 


Rattu 


good 


sutho 


new 


nau:n 


Tail 


puch 


Bone 


HaDo 


green 


sa:o 


night 


raati 


That 


ta, uho 


Breast 


Cha:ti 


hair 


wa:ra 


nose 


nakku 


This 


hi:u 


Burn 


SaRaNu/ 
BaraNu 


hand 


hathu 


not 


na 


Thou 


tu:n 


Claw 


Chanbo 


head 


matho 


one 


hikku 


Tongue 


Jibha 


Cloud 


Kakara 


hear 


buDhu 


person 


JaNu: 


Tooth 


Dandu 


Cold 


thadho 


heart 


dilli 


rain 


mkhun 


Tree 


waNun 


Come 


achu 


horn 


singu 


red 


Ga:Rho 


Two 


Ba: 


Die 


maraNu 


I 


a:un 


road 


rasto 


Walk 


ghumu 


Dog 


kutto 


kill 


ma:ri 


root 


pa:Ra 


Warm 


gar am 


Drink 


pi: 


knee 


goDo 


round 


golu 


Water 


pa:Ni 


Dry 


sukal 


know 


Ja:Nu 


sand 


wa:ri: 


we 


asln 


Ear 


kannu 


leaf 


patto 


say 


chaw 


what 


Chaa: 


Earth 


dharti 


lie 


ku:Ru 


see 


Disu 


white 


acho 


Eat 


kha:u 


liver 


jeyro 


seed 


Bijju 


who 


keiru 


Egg 


a:nu: 


long 


digho 


sit 


wehu 


woman 


ma:ee 


Eye 


akhi 


louse 


jun 


skin 


khalla 


yellow 


pi:lo 






13 











Bibliography/ References: 

1. Rotham Mahedevan: Indus Script: Texts, Concordance, and Tables, Delhi, 1977. 

2. Kimmo Koskenniemi and Asko Parpola: Corpus of Texts in INDUS SCRIPT, 
Department of Asian and African Studies, University of Helsinki, 1979. 

3. S.V.K Wilson: Indo-Sumerian: A New Approach For the Problem Of The Indus Script, 
Oxford, 1974. 

4. R. Hunter, The Script of Harrapa and Moenjo Daw and its Connection with other 
Scripts. London, 1934. 

5. See Dr. G. Allana, Sindhi Bolia Jo Bunnu Bunyad, Zeb Adabi Markaz, Hyderabad, Sindh, 
1974, pp. 33-116. This study, however, is based on Dr. R. Caldwell's work A Comparative 
Grammar of the Dravidian or South Indian Family of Languages, 1875. 

However, readers need to keep in mind two facts that the author had had no first hand knowledge 
of any Dravidian language, and that he had not been aware of what linguistic science recognizes 
as "linguistic universals' in languages which would help us compare Sindhi with Japanese, 
Chinese, Alaskan, or Ugaritic languages without proving that Sindhi had anything to do with 
Japanese, Chinese, Alaskan, or Ugaritic languages. 



Page prepared by Muhammad Umar Chand, 

Aalso published in in the Journal of Bahawalpur University 



14